I can’t believe it’s already July – I swear June just started! This year really needs to slow down and breathe a bit.
My mileage is low this month (I don’t even have a clue what it is)… becuase I spent half the month in Japan! If I had counted all the miles I walked every day I was there, my mileage would be through the roof 😉
I had such a blast in Japan and can’t say enough good things about it – although those around me would probably say that I’ve definitely given it a try! My trip started off in Tokyo, where I stayed with a friend from Hopkins. Being introduced to a new city (and country and culture) with a local is the absolute best way to do see, learn, and appreciate the world. You learn things from them that even the most astute, concientious traveler can’t – and things the tourist wouldn’t even consider bothering to learn.
After four days in Tokyo I traveled via Shinkansen (Amtrak, you’re a sad excuse for a train compared to the shinkansen! I think I may cry a little the next time I have to get on a Northeast Regional…) to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture and spent a day with a new friend! I got to see a city that isn’t in any travel books and had the experience of a lifetime meditating at a mountain-top buddist temple followed up by an incredibly relaxing visit to an onsen and an amazing dinner (featuring unagi!) at my friend’s home that had been prepared by his wife and mother-in-law. Seriously – befriend locals. They’re amazing.
Despite traveling alone, Kyoto was really the only place where I was actually traveling solo. I got to explore some of the sights and even took a cooking class!
After a few days in Kyoto I headed back to my new city. I love Tokyo. Despite it being one of the largest, most densely populated cities in the world, it felt like home. There truly is something for everyone there. This time I stayed in a hotel in Shinjuku and had a whirlwind tour of the parts I missed – I had dinner at a place that was on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, got to experience Japanese baseball, and finally got to run!! I ran 8 miles around the Imperial Palace and it was just as magical as it sounds.
I havent been this in love with a new place since I went to Australia for the first time in 2004. I know Japan has its own issues and problems, but things there just seem to work so well, quite frankly they do a lot of things better than we do, and civiclity is still a thing there. I would love to go back and spend more time there to really get to know it better – and even learn the language more. After the time I was in China and spoke absolutely no Chinese, I attempted to learn a little bit of Japanese before I went. I was surprisingly successful, but you can only learn so much on your own in a few weeks.
Now that marathon training is back in full swing, I’m trying to get re-focused and totally kick ass this year. After all the success I had last year, I really want to make this year count. I’ve got Baltimore and maybe the NCR Trail Marathon coming up this year, an a short-list of races for next year, but I’d be lying if I said the Tokyo Marathon isn’t on my radar for early 2018. 🙂